Dockett becoming Cards' captain and leader

Darnell Dockett (Getty)

Darnell Dockett was the last player to buy in to the new system defensive coordinator Ray Horton installed, but has become one of Horton's biggest advocates.

--Defensive coordinator Ray Horton reflected on his unit's improvement last year, saying end Darnell Dockett was the last player to buy in to the new system Horton installed. "The resistance was there," Horton said. "Here's the interesting dichotomy of that: he was the first person who called me when I got hired and he was kind of the last person to come on board on the field.

"Darnell is one of our captains and I explained that as the captain goes, sometimes the team goes. He's been phenomenal, and we have a bunch of unofficial team captains and leaders now."

--Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been through quarterback controversies before, so this year's competition between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton seems like no big deal. Fitzgerald has played eight seasons. In at least six of them, the Cardinals have been unsettled at the position.

As a rookie, Fitzgerald watched as the Cardinals went from Josh McCown to Shaun King to John Navarre. Then it was Matt Leinart vs. Kurt Warner in 2007 and 2008. "I think I was asked more when Kurt and Matt were competing," Fitzgerald said. "This is child's play almost."

Fitzgerald explained: "Matt was coming in, Heisman Trophy winner, high draft pick," Fitzgerald said. "Kurt was your Super Bowl MVP, two-time league MVP. Did he still have enough in the tank to get it done?

"This one is different because both the guys are not household names, so to speak." Fitzgerald isn't taking sides.

"I've been through a couple (quarterback battles)," he said, smiling. "I have to focus on making sure I'm accountable because no matter if you (a reporter) are throwing me the ball - it's probably going to be in the stands somewhere - I still have to try to make some plays."

--Center Lyle Sendlein was one of many offensive players unhappy with the unit's performance during a recent scrimmage. "We had a lot of 3-yard runs and we need those to be 5, 6 yards," he said. "Because later on in the game, those turn into 10-, 11-, 12-yard gains."

--An estimated crowd of 14,500 fans watched the team's Saturday practice. That's a record for the club. One group of fans showed up at 2 a.m. to start the line for autographs.

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